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Local clinic takes on testing of off-campus students

Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 14:56:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Rescue Me Wellness said only about one-fifth of the students that live in the high rises took advantage of the opportunity to get tested for free.

“It's definitely alarming and concerning that only about a fifth of the students have opted to be tested especially you know since we're going to them and we're providing a high-quality test that has results on a return you know roughly within 24 hours of receipt of this, of this specimen,” said Lisa Ritter.

Ritter runs Rescue Me Wellness, a Tucson urgent care and a health clinic that has been testing the community for months.

She and her staff tested the students in three of the high rise apartment complexes just feet away from the University of Arizona campus after she said Councilman Steve Kozachik worked with their managers.

RELATED: COVID-19 outbreak reported at high rises near UArizona campus

“It was definitely the students who had more of a concern about what they saw happening around them that wanted to be tested,” explained Ritter.

Ritter said her team used saliva tests, whereas the University of Arizona is using nasal swabs.

Once students were tested, they were told to self-quarantine until their results came back within 24 hours later.

The saliva samples were shipped to a lab in Texas and when those results were released it showed 45 positives at just one of the high rises near campus.

Although, false negative results came to light.

“You're gonna see false negatives, with the antigen test, the antigen test when administered frequently, and at the correct time during infection is going to be a great test to have it really looks at the protein on the outside of the COVID-19 virus," explained Ritter.

The next day a recommended shelter-in-place was rolled out for students.

RELATED: UArizona recommending 14-day shelter-in-place for students to curb spread of COVID-19

“I think that it's definitely time for me to possibly start educating people and letting them know its time to wear a mask," said UArizona student Sean Telfair.

Telfair is a business major and lives in one of the high rises. He said the complex he lives in closed their gym.

He explained he didn’t get tested when rescue me wellness offered the testing, but now he feels it's his responsibility to do so.

“Not just for the sake of yourself but for the sake over everyone around you because you’ve got to be cautious,“ he said.

Ritter leaves this advice to students --

"Play by the rules. We're all sick of COVID right now, but we need to basically squash these numbers and stop the transmissibility of this disease, to be able to go back to our somewhat normal lives," she said.

You can schedule an appointment to get tested by Rescue Me Wellness here.